By Ray Cortopassi
ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (Aug. 5, 2014)—Over the last two years, FOX59 has followed Hayat Nooristani, a translator who helped American forces overseas. Along that road, there have been many heart-breaking moments, where there was promise and then a door slammed shut.
But today, FOX59 received word from the U.S. State Department that the special immigrant visa, approved long ago, has now been issued from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. That means Hayat may soon be on a plane headed for the United States.
Hayat was born and raised in the mountains of Afghanistan. Fluent in six languages, the now 29-year-old man landed a job as a translator with the United States Army, finding himself fighting the Taliban alongside American soldiers. When his time was up, he qualified for a chance to come to America. However, the State Department kept the process dragging on, and Hayat was on the run from the terrorists he helped fight.
“He has to hide his parents, he's out of money, he has to eat out trash heaps in the street,” said Dennis Norris, Hayat’s Indiana sponsor. “And this is a guy who has done an awful lot for the United States and for the soldiers and marines that we have over there."
Norris had hired Hayat for his infrastructure and security work in Afghanistan. After returning to his home in Zionsville, he began fighting a diplomatic battle on his behalf. Hayat's special immigrant visa was approved last year, but Tuesday morning, Norris learned that the fight has gone further than ever before; the embassy in Kabul issued Hayat's visa.
And Change.org may have played in role in flooding the embassy with signed petitions after FOX59’s story first aired. At first it had 1,200 signatures, but now it is up to more than 115,000!
“This was after my daughter Hailey wrote a petition and circulated it around her college and Facebook and that sort of thing,” said Norris.
Hayat will pick up his visa on Sunday. From Kabul, he will fly out of Dubai. If everything goes as planned, Hayat could be in the U.S. in a week to 10 days.